COLUMBIA — Two hundred and sixty volunteers slowly made their way into the expanded ballroom at the Stoney Creek Inn on Tuesday afternoon.
The Hero Award nominees ranged from young children to older people. The 11th annual awards ceremony recognized those in the community who volunteer their time to help others. All seven awards were sponsored by Landmark Bank, with support from the Voluntary Action Center.
As the volunteers settled into their seats, representatives from the Columbia Daily Tribune and Landmark Bank welcomed everyone.
After a final welcome from Mayor Bob McDavid and a few words from the Voluntary Action Center's board president and executive director, the judging panel began announcing each of the 49 group and individual nominees.
A $400 check donated by the Columbia Daily Tribune and Landmark Bank was presented to all the award winners.
Outstanding Volunteer in Education or Literacy: This award was presented to Anne Braisted, who volunteered at U.S. Grant Elementary School for 13 years. She's helped struggling fourth-graders learn to read and has inspired others to become reading mentors, too, according to a Voluntary Action Center news release.
Outstanding Volunteer in Community Protection: The Kappa Alpha Theta sorority received this award for its philanthropic work with Heart of Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates. The group of more than 200 women raised money for CASA through a late-night pancake breakfast in the fall and a Mexican dinner in the spring. Kappa Alpha Theta also provided more than 300 books for abused and neglected children, according to the release.
Outstanding Volunteer in Health Care: Matthew Rendo was presented with this award for his beneficial service to clients of Hospice Compassus. He extended companionship to people in their last months of life, according to the Voluntary Action Center release. For example, Rendo made it possible for a client to attend a Missouri football game last fall.
Outstanding Volunteer — Lifetime Achievement: This award was given to Pauline Marienfeld. She helped found The Wardrobe thrift shop more than 43 years ago. The 92-year-old received a standing ovation from the entire room as she walked to the stage to receive her award. Marienfeld has held many positions on The Wardrobe's board of directors, according to the release.
Youth Volunteer of the Year: The Windsor Street Montessori School was presented with this award. Mary Windmiller, teacher and director at the school, said it was "a big honor."
The children at this elementary school have rung bells for the Salvation Army, picked up trash in city parks and streams, and delivered cards and cookies to children at the local hospital and Ronald McDonald House.
Group Volunteer of the Year: This award was given to Senior Adults Giving Extra Service. This group of retired people from Memorial Baptist Church provides school supplies, winter clothing and shoes, and Buddy Packs to Benton Elementary School.
Barbara Weaver, a co-chairwoman of the group, said she felt "privileged to help" the children at this school.
Both Weaver and Ellie Powell, who is also a co-chairwoman, said they felt "surprised and amazed" to receive this award.
Individual Volunteer of the Year: Dave Machens received this award. Machens served the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri by coordinating a $2 million renovation and expansion project. In addition, he worked with the architects, construction company and the interior design team.
Machens said he was "very surprised and very flattered" to receive this award.